From The Editor

Get ready for a robot invasion in rice fields

Vicky Boyd

The folks behind Harvest CROO, a robotic strawberry harvester nearing commercialization, recently sent a press release about how the automated machine can pick at least 20 hours per day, including weekends, and harvest 95 percent of the fruit off a plant. One of the masterminds behind the machine is Florida strawberry grower Gary Wishnatzki, who was having a tough time ... Read More »

Numbers don’t lie – industry has made huge sustainability gains

Vicky Boyd

To say you’re sustainable is one thing. But to put numbers to that statement — and numbers that show substantial improvement in using resources more efficiently — is quite another. USA Rice recently released the executive summary of its “2018 U.S. Rice Industry Sustainability Report” that cataloged the industry’s improvements during the past 36 years. We’re not talking small gains, ... Read More »

Would a rice by any other name still smell as sweet?

Vicky Boyd

Numbers don’t lie. For the 2018-19 rice marketing year, imports are expected to comprise more than 24 percent of domestic rice use — a record, according to figures from U.S. Department of Agriculture ag economist Nathan Childs. Of that, most will be Thai jasmine. Just 20 years ago, imports made up about 8 percent of domestic use. Although some of ... Read More »

Texas FFA students learn about rice through contest

Vicky Boyd

When you think about FFA, images of blue jackets, livestock showing and judging, public speaking and leadership may come to mind. Chances are rice is not among those. But the long-running Ruben Stringer Memorial Texas Rice Education Contest is designed to spark FFA students’ interest in the Texas rice industry east of Houston, says Mike Broussard, a vocational agriculture teacher ... Read More »

Rice enjoys craft beer renaissance

Vicky Boyd

Using rice as a beer ingredient is nothing new. Brewers before Prohibition used the grain because it imparted a light, crisp taste and effervescence, and Anheuser Busch has been doing so for decades. But they all used rice as an adjunct ingredient and a starch source in addition to barley. Jim Eckert, owner of Eckert Malting and Brewing in Chico, ... Read More »

Rice industry received several ‘gifts’ for the 2018 season

Vicky Boyd

The 2018 rice season reminds me of Christmas. You rip into the boxes under the tree and can’t wait to go outside and try out your new toys. This year, rice producers received a number of presents in the form of a new herbicide-tolerant technology, a new herbicidal mode of action and three new jasmine-type varieties. Read More »

Once upon a time…telling the ‘rice’ story

Vicky Boyd

If you don’t tell the story of the rice industry, somebody else will, and you may not like what they say. That was the take-home message from two growers and a media expert who shared their experiences using social media to connect with consumers. Read More »

Cauliflower is nabbed for impersonating rice

Vicky Boyd

What’s in a name? Everything, if you’re the Washington, D.C.-based USA Rice. The organization has complained to the Food and Drug Administration that vegetable-based products that use “rice” in their name ­— such as Cauli Rice, Green Giant Riced Cauliflower, Trader Joe’s Rice Cauliflower and vegetable grower Apio’s Eat Smart Cauliflower Rice — are too confusing to the consumer. Read More »